Instant Replay: Giants' comeback falls short in Game 1 loss

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Instant Replay: Giants' comeback falls short in Game 1 loss

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO A couple of two-run homers by David Freese and Carlos Beltran, and a shutdown performance by the Cardinals' bullpen led St. Louis to a 6-4 win over the Giants in Game 1 of the NLCS on Sunday night at AT&T Park.
Starter Madison Bumgarner was generally ineffective in just 3.2 innings of work, while the Giants' offense scored four runs in the fourth inning but none in the other eight combined. San Francisco managed to keep the game interesting with a furious fourth after staking the Cardinals an early 6-0 lead, but a combination of six St. Louis relievers after starter Lance Lynns exit baffled the Giants hitters.
The Giants are still looking for their first home win of the postseason, after dropping the first two games of the NLDS to Cincinnati. They fell to 4-2 all-time in Game 1 of the championship series.
Starting pitching report
Neither the Giants Bumgarner nor St. Louis Lynn made it through the fourth inning, although Lynn was charged with just four runs to Bumgarners six.
Bumgarner was pulled in the fourth after he watched Beltrans two-out, two-run homer clear the fence in left field. All six Cardinals runs were earned, and came on eight hits surrendered by the San Francisco starter, who walked one and struck out two. It was a battle all night for Bumgarner, who also surrendered a two-run blast to Freese in the second inning that seemed to leave the yard in the blink of an eye.
Lynn, on the other hand, cruised through his first three before unraveling in the bottom of the fourth. Marco Scutaro got the Giants first hit to lead off the inning, but Lynn quickly struck out Pablo Sandoval and got Buster Posey to fly out to right. The Giants got four straight hits after that, though, and Lynns night was over after 3.2 innings, four earned runs, two walks and three strikeouts.
Bullpen report
The Giants' bullpen was just as effective as the Cards, keeping St. Louis off of the board for 5.1 innings after Bumgarners exit. George Kontos came on in relief of Bumgarner in the fourth, and retired the one batter he faced. Tim Lincecum pitched a scoreless fifth and sixth before giving way to Jeremy Affeldt, while Santiago Casilla and Jose Mijares pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth, respectively.
Mitchell Boggs worked a 1-2-3 eighth before Jason Motte recorded the save, giving up only a two-out single to Angel Pagan. Edward Mujica was credited with the win.
At the plate
Gregor Blanco had the biggest hit for the Giants in the fourth, when his two-out triple to the deepest part of the field in right-center plated Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt. That was the highlight of the night for the Giants, however, who didnt score after that.
Scutaro was the only Giants player with more than one hit on the night, going 2-for-5.
St. Louis second baseman Daniel Descalso was 2-for-4, and no other Cardinals player had more than one hit.
In the field
Each clubs second baseman made a key defensive play.
After Lynn was pulled in the fourth inning in favor of Joe Kelly, Descalso kept the damage to a minimum when he made a diving stop on a grounder by Pagan and flipped it to shortstop Pete Kozma for a force out of Aubrey Huff, stranding Blanco on third.
With one on and one out in the top of the fifth and Lincecum pitching, Scutaro helped start a double-play on a sharp grounder up the middle by Freese.
Blancos sliding catch in the top of the sixth on Skip Schumaker with two out was arguably the defensive play of the game.
Sandoval committed the only error in the game on a bad throw to first base on Yadier Molinas grounder with one out in the top of the eighth.
Up next
Ryan Vogelsong will get the ball for the Giants opposing St. Louis Chris Carpenter in Game 2 on Monday, before the series shifts to Busch Stadium for games three through five.

'No hiding' for Sharks as they face elimination against Oilers

'No hiding' for Sharks as they face elimination against Oilers

SAN JOSE – Every facet of their game was on point for the Sharks the last time they were at SAP Center. They’ll likely need at least a similar type of effort as that 7-0 battering they put on the Oilers in Game 4 again on Saturday in Game 6 if they’re going to keep their season alive.

They can draw on some recent elimination game experience to give them a boost, too.

During their run to the Stanley Cup Final last year, San Jose smoked the Predators in the seventh game of the second round, and fought off the Penguins in Game 5 before Pittsburgh managed to raise the Stanley Cup in Game 6.

“It’s different, there’s no doubt. There’s no hiding from [elimination],” Pete DeBoer said on Saturday morning. “You lose, you go home. … We’ve been here before, we know how to handle it, and I think we’re confident we'll show up with a real good game here tonight.”

The Sharks will surely have to be better than they were in overtime in Game 5, when the Oilers took the momentum from a late game-tying goal from Oscar Klefbom and dominated San Jose after the third intermission. David Desharnais sent the Rogers Place crowd home happy in a result that seemed in evitable the way the extra session was going, Martin Jones’ highlight reel stops aside.

Prior to that, though, San Jose played a strong road game. Even in the third period when the Oilers were pushing while down 3-2, they were kept mostly to the outside.

“I think that as much as we were maybe giving up shots, I don’t think we gave up any Grade A [chances in the third period],” Brenden Dillon said. “It’s a defenseman coming in off a change, and makes a perfect off-the-post [shot] and in.”

DeBoer pointed out that the Oilers only outshot the Sharks 8-7 in the third.

“I don’t think we gave them anything, and even on that [Klefbom goal] we had five guys back,” the coach said. “They made a good play, what are you going to do? It happens. They made a good play at the right time and converted. You can’t overthink those things.”

“We were two minutes away from playing a great road game and having a great win. To their credit, they found a way to get off the mat. We understand what happened in the overtime. We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Playing at home should give the Sharks an advantage tactically as much as emotionally. In games three and four, San Jose is able to get the Marc-Edouard Vlasic-Justin Braun pair out against the Connor McDavid line more easily due to last change. The Oilers’ leading scorer is still searching for his first even strength point in the series.

In Game 5, Braun played a game-high 34:30 while Vlasic was a close second at 33:49. As he is wont to do, Vlasic played off the extra time, saying he “took a nap yesterday” so he should be well-rested for Game 6.

“I love to play. The more I play the better I feel,” he said. “Playing against one of the best players in the world, so what’s not to like?”

Paul Martin, who has been in the playoffs every season of his 13-year NHL career, said: “I think we build off what we did at home last game, as far matchups and the way that we played. I think we can’t come in and play tentative hockey, we have to come in and play our hockey, and see what happens.”

 

NHL Gameday: Donskoi back in as Sharks try to stay alive in Game 6

NHL Gameday: Donskoi back in as Sharks try to stay alive in Game 6

Programming note – Sharks-Oilers coverage starts today at 7:00 p.m. with Sharks Pregame Live on NBC Sports California

SERIES SCHEDULE

The Oilers lead the best-of-seven series, three games to two

Game 1: Sharks 3, Oilers 2 (OT)
Game 2: Oilers 2, Sharks 0
Game 3: Oilers 1, Sharks 0
Game 4: Sharks 7, Oilers 0
Game 5: Oilers 4, Sharks 3 (OT)
Game 6: Saturday, April 22, Oilers @ Sharks (7:30 p.m.)
*Game 7: Monday, April 24, Sharks @ Oilers (TBD)

* - if necessary

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***After they were obliterated in Game 4 at SAP Center, the Oilers responded with a 4-3 overtime win at home in Game 5 at Rogers Place on Thursday to put the Sharks on the brink. Edmonton outshot the Sharks 14-2 in the extra session, including David Desharnais’ winner at 18:15.

***The Sharks went 2-1 in elimination games last season, beating Nashville in the second round in Game 7 and the Penguins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, but losing Game 6 to Pittsburgh.

***Joonas Donskoi will be back in the lineup after he was a healthy scratch in Game 5. Timo Meier will come out.

“We went with our most experienced lineup here tonight [in an] elimination game,” Pete DeBoer said. “He’s been here before, he’s delivered for us before. He’s typically always bounced back after being sat down or demoted. I expect a big game out of him.”

Donskoi, who has one power play assist an a minus-three rating in four games, said: “I’m full of energy. Just try to bring my best game tonight and get some offensive zone time. ... I think I can be much better than I’ve been so far.”

***Since 2004, no NHL team has played more postseason games than the Sharks’ 143. The Sharks have made the playoffs in 12 of the last 13 seasons, and have been knocked out in the first round just three times in their last 11 appearances – 2009, 2012 and 2014.

***After combining for four goals and four assists in Game 4, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture and Brent Burns all failed to get on the scoresheet in Game 5. Burns’ delay of game penalty led to Mark Letestu’s key goal late in the second period, bringing the Oilers back to within 3-2.

***Although he recorded an assist in Game 5, ending a modest two-game scoreless streak, Connor McDavid is still looking for his first even-strength point in the series.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Marcus Sorensen. The rookie forward has been making a name for himself in the series, and now has points in back to back games after assisting on Mikkel Boedker’s goal in Game 5. The 25-year-old looks to be gaining chemistry with center Chris Tierney, making for an effective fourth line. While guys like Boedker and Joonas Donskoi have been scratched, Sorensen has remained in the lineup.

Oilers: David Desharnais. No player was more valuable to the Oilers’ Game 5 comeback than the pint-sized forward, who set up Oscar Kelfbom’s third period goal and then scored the overtime winner when he charged past Tomas Hertl. In 43 playoff games, Desharnais, acquired from Montreal just before the trade deadline, has 15 points (4g, 11a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Jannik Hansen – Logan Couture – Joel Ward
Melker Karlsson – Tomas Hertl – Joonas Donskoi
Marcus Sorensen – Chris Tierney – Mikkel Boedker

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones (starter)
Aaron Dell

Oilers
Drake Caggiula – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl
Milan Lucic – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Jordan Eberle
Patrick Maroon – Mark Letestu – Zack Kassian
Benoit Pouliot – David Desharnais – Anton Slepyshev

Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera – Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse – Matt Benning

Cam Talbot (starter)
Laurent Brossoit

INJURIES

Sharks: None.

Oilers: Tyler Pitlick (torn ACL) is out.

SHARKS PLAYOFF RECORD WHEN…

The Sharks are 1-10 all-time when trailing a series three games to two. They are 6-4 all-time in Game 7s.

The Sharks’ all-time record in a Game 6 is 6-17, including 3-7 at home.

QUOTEABLE

“I thought we played a pretty good game. Maybe we sat back a little in the third. I thought we did a good job limiting their chances. They had one good shot they buried. Maybe we weren’t quite on the attack as much as the first two periods.” – David Schlemko, after Game 5